Shuttered for more than a year, Johnny’s Grill (2545 N. Kedzie Ave., Logan Square) surprisingly reopened a week ago, albeit under completely new ownership. Walk by and you’ll probably only notice how much hasn’t changed. The old sign remains, along with the weathered tile and old swivel chairs. (It is much bigger, having taken over the flower shop next door for a new bar, but the diner side is mostly untouched.)
Just don’t even think of expecting the same menu. The new menu is lean and focused, with some genuine Irish inflections, courtesy of chef Sarah Jordan, who was born in Ireland.
Which explains why a supposed diner has an Irish bacon bap ($9) on the menu. Featuring the excellent local Spencer’s back bacon as the salty centerpiece, the sandwich also includes creamy Swiss cheese and crunchy giardiniera slaw. But don’t forget about the bap. The soft roll manages to hold all of the contents, while refusing to get in the way.
One would find it hard to call this traditional diner fare, but Johnny’s is all the better for it.